The European Union has launched a campaign to raise the awareness of consumers about making small changes to daily routines to help reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases.
The “You Control Climate Change” campaign, launched today by European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas in Brussels, offers tips on reducing emissions while endowing people with a sense of personal responsibility and empowerment. EU Member States will be launching the campaign at national level over the next few days.
People may say that their individual behaviour does not matter; I say—on the contrary: Households in the EU count for a large part of the EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions, so each of us has a role to play in bringing down emissions. Our campaign will provide citizens with information about climate change and their role in combating it. Doing the right thing is not as difficult as it seems.—Commissioner Stavros Dimas
The basic themes of the campaign—“Turn down. Switch off. Recycle. Walk.”— will be plastered on giant posters, advertising campaigns and T-shirts (including one to be worn by Manneken Pis in Brussels).
A campaign website offers some 50 tips how to reduce emissions, ranging from turning down the heating by 1ºC (up to 10% of the energy used for heating saved) to avoiding the stand-by mode of TV sets, stereos and computers (10% of the energy they use saved) and printing double-sided (up to 50% of paper saved). A carbon calculator calculates the amount of carbon dioxide saved by each action, and visitors can also download a power-saving screen saver for their computers.
The campaign also targets secondary school pupils, who will be encouraged to sign a pledge to reduce their CO2 emissions and track their efforts.
The campaign has a budget is €4.7 million (US$6 million). While the website will be available permanently, the campaign will be carried out in three concentrated waves:in June, September and November 2006.
Households in the EU are responsible for some 16% of the EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Per head and year, each EU citizen is responsible for 11 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, mainly CO2. Most of the greenhouse gas emissions in the EU are caused by the production and use of energy (61%) followed by transport (21%). Households use almost one third of the energy consumed in the EU, and private cars are responsible for roughly half of the transport emissions.